Vaidhyanathan’s mother traveled from India to attend ceremony.
Savita Vaidhyanathan is the new mayor of Cupertino, California. She is the city’s first Indian American mayor and takes over for Barry Chang.
“This is definitely a very momentous moment in my life,” Vaidhyanathan told a packed house at community hall, during her swearing-in, reported Mercury News. “I have several people to thank for this, and many of them are in this room, and my father, who is not here but is watching from heaven above. He instilled in me the confidence that I could do anything I set my heart to as along as I put the hard work in.”
She also thanked her mother, who came to the ceremony from India, and her daughter, husband and other family members in attendance.
“I’ve had several congratulatory messages saying that I’m the first woman mayor of Indian origin,” she said. “Yes, I do take a lot of pride and prestige in that, but I do want to thank the residents of the city of Cupertino that voted me in not looking at ethnicity at all. Thank you for your trust in me, and maybe we did break that silicon ceiling and put a few more cracks in that glass ceiling.”
She said she is looking forward to continuing to work with residents in the community.
“We have some really interesting times ahead of us,” she said to the audience. “Yes, we will debate. Yes, we may argue, but we all bleed Cupertino. I look forward to your help and inspiration. I will continue to reach out to you for your input and suggestions, and we will definitely help make Cupertino shine because it is a crowning jewel in the Silicon Valley.
Vaidhyanathan is also the first woman mayor of the city since Kris Wang served in 2010.
Newly re-elected councilman Rod Sinks took a moment at the meeting to congratulate the new mayor, reported Mercury News.
“I’m thrilled that you are mayor, and you’ve already demonstrated here, assuming the role of these meetings when Barry’s been gone and also at some of our ceremonial events, that you are eloquent, thoughtful, passionate, but you know how to run a calm meeting and make progress,” he said. “So from my heart to yours, we will enjoy having you chair this body. I think you bring some unique perspectives and characteristics and ways of doing things that the rest of us don’t.”
This was the final meeting for Gilbert Wong, who served 9 years on city council and termed out.
“I feel pretty damn sure that’s she’s going to make a really great mayor,” he said. “I’m really proud to have our first South Asian mayor, our first woman Indian mayor, and that’s something we should celebrate.”
On her campaign website, Vaidhyanathan says she has been a Cupertino resident for over 19 years. She has been deeply involved in several community activities in the city. She took classes at De Anza College and graduated with an MBA from San Jose State University. She has worked as a high school Math teacher, an officer in a commercial bank, and in non-profit management.
Among her accomplishments: President of the Rotary Club of Cupertino (2013-14); Member since 2007; Board of West Valley Community Services (2007-12); De Anza College Commissioner (2008-present); Cupertino Rotary Endowment Board (2010-present); Co-chair of the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce Diwali in the park festival (2005); Program Coordinator/Chair of Cupertino Rotary Fall Festival (2007-10, 2011).
She was awarded the ‘Community Leader of the Year, Silicon Valley DECA’ (2010).